This week represents a very special time for my wife Judith and I, and we have had a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a cruise around New Zealand. Up to now a good time has been had by all and, as a bonus, we have made several new friends.
Among these we met a delightful lady and her daughter who have taken time away from the families to rediscover some time for themselves. All was going swimmingly until yesterday morning when Mum M took her early morning shower. On getting out of the shower she realised the fire sprinklers had gone off in their cabin and water was pouring onto her still sleeping daughter.
This is the point at which you would think those efficient staff from the cruise line would come to the ladies’ aid. Surely if a sprinkler goes off some control system would alert technical staff to the problem?
The daughter awoke suddenly – at first drawn into thinking the ship must be sinking.
Mum, just wearing a small towel to cover her modesty, rushed into the corridor and tried to rescues clothes, passports, and valuables by tossing them in the corridor while daughter K sought help outside of the soaking cabin.
After an eternity had passed some not very knowledgeable assistance was found. The lady at the service desk gave some useless and frankly patronising help, and M ended up pleading with her for help out of total and understandable frustration. And by now it was over a half an hour since the incident and no human or practical help had been offered.
Slowly, very slowly, help did arrive and the two were eventually moved to an alternative cabin “fortunately” as the staff put it, made vacant because the previous occupant had vacated it due to medical reasons.
Twelve hours later promises made by the staff to dry out clothes, to give them a token $100 emergency credit each, to supply them with other help had only just begun to take place.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS.
M and K have been very upset, truly traumatised and heavily patronised by the staff of this ship. Thirteen hours after the incident never seen before “managers” have appeared but themselves seemed to be bemused by the incident and how to handle their customers’ plight.
M is left feeling that their problems will just be ignored and their on-going discomfort for the remainder of the voyage overlooked.
All of M and Ks friends feel that all the cruise company really care about is the value added Dollars that each passenger represents and not the comfort and safety of their paying guests.
I am not alone in asking why procedures for this and similar such predictable incidents is not in place, and why are the staff responsible not trained and up to speed with procedures to handle traumatised passengers?
In such a sophisticated ship as this surely staff should have the technology and support systems to handle incidents such as this?
Why cannot decisions be made at sea without having to first find out what to do from head office as has been implied by some staff?
I recognised that many passengers are on board using loyalty programmes. I suspect that none of us who witnessed the treatment these ladies were given will be taking a further cruise with this company if attitudes haven’t demonstrably improved today.